The 2017 NBA Draft order is set so we can now get down to the business of guessing who goes where and speculate about who will be looking to trade up, out or down. What follows is a look at the best fits available in this year’s draft class. These are the players who are ready-made for the team I’ve paired them up with and who could make the most lasting impact on that team.
Bear in mind, this is not who I think these teams will take, it’s just who fits their current roster the best. At each spot I took into account where the team is picking and who was likely to be on the board at that spot.
Feel free to tell me where you agree or disagree in the comments.
Boston Celtics: Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke
Markelle Fultz will almost surely be the first player taken in the draft. If the Celtics keep the No. 1 pick, they will likely wind up with him. But this is about the best fit for every team and given the current construction of Boston’s roster, Jayson Tatum is the guy who could help the most right now.
With Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley entrenched as the team’s starting backcourt, the Celtics don’t need another guard. Fultz would likely struggle to find consistent minutes behind that duo. Meanwhile, Boston could really use an upgrade on the wing, and Tatum is the most polished, NBA-ready player in the draft. Josh Jackson could be a fit too, but he’s still raw and Boston is in contention. Tatum would provide an immediate boost, while also offering long-term growth potential.
Tatum already has an NBA body, can score at will, has perfect size for a wing player and can defend. What more could Boston want right now?
Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
Fultz is the best player in the draft, but Lonzo Ball looks like the best fit for the Lakers. The UCLA product’s skills align perfectly with what LA coach Luke Walton wants to do. He makes his teammates better, willingly shares the ball and finds guys with precision passes in tight windows. He’s exactly what the franchise needs to boost it’s offense.
Walton and the Lakers want to play a wide-open style in which every player has a role. Ball is a guy who will help facilitate the growth of that kind of system. Plus, he and D'Angelo Russell would actually pair well in the backcourt, as their playing styles matchup really well. If either ever decides to play a lick of defense the Lakers could wind up with one of the NBA’s best backcourts.
Philadelphia 76ers: Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky
The 76ers don’t need a point guard if Ben Simmons is healthy, so De'Aaron Fox isn’t a real fit at No. 3. Jackson is a possibility, but truly the best fit is Kentucky’s Malik Monk. The Sixers need scoring and Monk can fill it up. He’s a phenomenal outside shooter, something the roster doesn’t currently have. Among the team’s regulars, only Nik Stauskas shot better than 36 percent from 3-point range last season.
With Joel Embiid hopefully back at 100 percent, Simmons, Dario Saric and Jahlil Okafor, the team doesn’t need more size. The only thing truly missing is a fill-it-up perimeter scorer, and Monk is the best one in the draft. He would finalize what could be a devastating starting five for opponents to deal with.